In Depth Fishing Report 23/3

23 Mar 23

The South West has turned it on this last week with all types of water fishing very well for their respective species. Barrels are being brought in every fishable day and there is some other species inland on offer.

Saltwater: the barrel fever has never been stronger than now with many quality fish being landed in recent weeks. Young gun Xavier Ellul has continued his red hot form with a 124kg barrel caught off Portland on Saturday. Unlike some of the other fish that are landed in under 1 hour, this fish just dogged it out under the boat which saw the fight last 3.5 hours. Jeremy Porter stopped into the shop the day before asking for some advice from Xav and with a couple of new lures, he was off in search of a big fish. The very next day he headed off Portland with the lures in tow and it didn’t take long for his new Bonze Exocet in Evil to scream off. After a lengthy fight the fish was boatside but it was here that it got real for the boys. A large shark decided that it wanted the tuna more than Jezza did. This particular fish weighed 100kg without its tail and was a great fish to open his account on barrel tuna. Another great story was Luke Gercovich who headed out solo after work with his brand new Saltiga lever drag overhead. Using the freshest pilchard (caught off a bait school) it was sent out unweighted into the school of busting fish. The line started spewing off the reel and heading to the bottom very quickly. After a few minutes of being hooked up the hook came free and all he was left with was his own hook and a second circle hook attached! Luke guesses this second hook came from a broken longline. There has been a few hooks found in these fish lately so the fish have clearly had a hard time along the coast. If you have a fish that has one of these hooks in it and you want to release it then get it out first before releasing as they use stainless hooks. Another angler that ventured out on his own was Luke Smith and he too got a shot at one. Luke said he got absolutely drilled next to the boat when he sunk the gaff into it. Once his battle boatside was over a healthy 80kg tuna came into the boat. Most of these fish lately have been coming off a skirted lure with a bullet shape head in the shotgun position of the spread. Another way of getting bit is to have some pilchards and sinking them down unweighted into the schools of fish. If you’re doing this, please don’t be that crew who pulls up on a bait ball already being worked by trolling guys only to have a boat drive straight into the middle and set up. This will stuff it up for both parties so it’s best to drive off and find your own fish to try this technique with.

Estuaries: The Glenelg River produced mixed results over the weekend with some anglers catching heaps, and others hardly turning a reel. In the Warrnambool and District Angling Club's competition, live crabs cast into the walls while using the electric motor to slowly creep up the banks proved to be pivotal for eventual winners Lewis Holland and Jessica Lane. Using this technique Lewis caught both the heaviest bream which weighed 1.39kg and the heaviest 10 fish for 8.03kg. Jess also scored a quality fish which weighed 1.11kg to take out the ladies section. These better fish were caught in the section of the river from the bridge all the way up to Donovan’s. Corey fished up at Sapling Creek where the water was very dirty due to the boat traffic up there, and the muddy nature of the banks. Unfortunately it was a weekend that the mulloway in the system had lock jaw and didn’t want a bar of what anyone had. There are lots in the river, with sounders lighting up, but getting one to eat is another thing. A couple of members sat out all night for no fish even with live spew worms. This is when you know it’s tough, when they won’t eat a spew worm. The Hopkins River is still fishing well down the front half of the system for big bream. Live crab has also been the pick of the baits anywhere there are rocks or structure. The water clarity in the Hopkins has never been better with crystal clear salty water nearly past the ski run. Hopefully we see a run of mulloway in here this year after a couple of quiet ones.

Freshwater: Lake Gillear has been fishing very well for redfin of all sizes by anglers trolling and casting soft plastics along the weeds. Fergus Mahney caught some nice fish while fishing with his dad Mick last week on a soft plastic. These fish were seen chasing bait schools into the weeds so they weren’t hard to spot. Codi Symons caught a cracker while fishing with his dad TJ. If you’re looking to go and have a crack and get a feed, you will want to inspect each fillet as there have been some with worms in them. The easiest way to see if something isn’t right is to skin the fillet and hold it up to the light and make sure there’s no worms in it. It's advised against eating them if you find any type of worm in it. Redfin aren't a fussy species so there's a wide range of lures to try. Hardbodied minnows, cranks and vibes, as well as spinnerbaits and soft plastics have all been getting plenty of fish.

This weekend sees some 3m swell but with light winds expected on Sunday that won’t stop the tuna crews heading out for a chance at a jumbo. If you’re heading out stay safe and be well prepared as this is the time of year that Coast Guard and Marine Rescue crews get called out to people running out of fuel as they weren’t prepared. Extra fuel, food and water is definitely not a stupid idea especially if you’ve never done this type of fishing before. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!